Saskatchewan

Lacoursiere charges CIC with steering review panel

The former head of the province's utility rate review panel says it was plagued by government interference throughout his term.

The former head of the province's utility rate review panel says it was plagued by government interference throughout his term.

Bob Lacoursiere was kicked off that panel last week. At a press conference Tuesday Lacourisiere said he was let go because of his efforts to make the panel more independent.

Lacoursiere says civil servants from the Crown Investments Corporation (CIC) were constantly poking their noses into the panel's business. He says they insisted on writing the panel's reports and sitting in on panel meetings. Lacoursiere says panel members felt like CIC staff were always looking over their shoulders.

"If we were discussing a point where everybody didn't agree, then the comment was made, well that's not within your mandate, that's not within our mandate," he says.

More troubling for Lacoursiere was CIC's setting limits on what subjects panel members could question for each rate review. He says such criteria are unheard of in other provinces.

"None of the other tribunals that I've talked to have limitations on the scope of their review," Lacoursiere says.

Lacoursiere says he was starting to make some changes before he was fired last week. Now he's concerned the government will exert even more control over a panel that's supposed to be independent.

Crown Investments Minister Maynard Sonntag says he thinks the current system is fair. But he says he'll consider making changes if the public loses confidence in the panel.

The controversy continues over the removal of the Chair of Saskatchewan's Rate Review Panel.

Lacoursiere paints himself as the victim of constant interference from officials at CIC. He says the coporation's civil servants sat in on many panels meetings and made members feel uncomfortable

now